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Youth Olympics

Underdogs take on favourites in semis

(FIFA.com)
Noelia de las Heras #7 of Spain controls the ball against Maria Galvez #8 of Bolivia
© Getty Images
  • Final four all aiming for podium finish
  • Portugal and Spain the favourites to advance to championship
  • FIFA.com previews both semi-finals

Spain and Portugal are firm favourites to reach the final of the Women’s Youth Olympic Futsal Tournament Buenos Aires 2018 ahead of their semi-final clashes with Japan and Bolivia respectively.

Indeed, the evidence is clear to see, with the pair having overwhelmed their opponents so far and come to Argentina with the stated aim of going home with the gold medal.

Portugal-Bolivia

Monday 15 October, Main Futsal Hall, 14:00 (Local time)

Portugal are highly convincing in attack, topping possession statistics (67, 75 per cent) and have taken 252 shots at goal. They are also the second-most prolific team in Buenos Aires, having found the net 37 times, and have the second-highest goalscorer at their disposal in Fifo, who has found the net 11 times so far.

Portugal are not just strong going forward, though – they are sound in defence as well, having kept a clean sheet in three of their four games.

This defensive resolve will be put to the test by Maria Galvez, who tops the scoring charts with 13 goals and is the star player for surprise semi-finalists Bolivia. The Portuguese will need to be wary of the South Americans, who are improving as the tournament goes on and have nothing to lose.

The stat
122 - The number of minutes Portugal have gone without conceding in Buenos Aires.

The words
“Portugal are a really tough opponent, but with our courage and strength there’s no such thing as impossible for us.”
Maria Galvez, Bolivia forward

Spain-Japan

Monday 15 October, Main Futsal Hall, 16:00 (Local time)

Spain came into the tournament as favourites and have so far lived up to their billing. Only Bolivia in the opening fixture have caused them any problems, and the Spanish rose to the challenge to convincingly defeat them.

Although the 39 goals Spain have scored is an eye-catching statistic, it is the sheer number of options they have in attack that make them dangerous. All eight outfield players have found the net in the tournament.

Japan are nothing if not a utilitarian team. They only scored 16 goals in the group stage, the same number Spain netted in just one game, against Trinidad and Tobago. This means that they will have to make the most of every glimpse of goal they get, as well as keeping it tight at the back.

The stat
22 - The number of assists Spain have made, 13 more than Japan.

The words
“In our 2-0 defeat by Portugal we showed that we can withstand fierce attacks, but to win we need to score more goals. We need to take our chances in attack.”
Kenichiro Kogure, Japan coach

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